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Food for Invalids — Irwell 727 

can come to a weary nurse than that the sick one to whom she has min- 
istered for so many weeks or months should at last, on entering in to 
the life Eternal, lay before the Lord of Glory the name of the one who 
was with her, who helped her, who cared for her, and who was faithful 
to her trust until the end. 



SUGGESTIONS ON THE SERVING OF FOOD 
TO INVALIDS. 

BY CELIA K. IRWELL 

Buffalo, N. Y. 

It would be an advantage if every trained nurse were skilled in the 
preparation of a variety of tempting dishes for her patients, so that 
when there is no other person to superintend this important duty, the 
nurse can direct how the cooking should be done, or, in an emergency, 
can do it herself. During convalescence the patient's diet does not 
always receive as much attention as is desirable, and chronic invalids 
often complain of the monotonous character of their meals. 

The physician's instructions concerning diet must, of course, be car- 
ried out to the letter. If he orders liquid food only, this should be 
given with all possible variety — at all events, absolute monotony should 
be avoided. Soup may be thickened in different ways, one day with 
arrowroot, another with lentil flower, or crashed tapioca. If eggs are 
allowed, a beaten egg may be added to chicken or veal broth. 

When farinaceous food is not forbidden, there can be no possible 
excuse for monotony in the invalid's diet, yet, only too often, the same 
kind of preparation appears meal after meal for days. Old-fashioned 
oatmeal may occasionally be used for a change, if the patient can digest 
it. In a carbohydrate diet, it is a great mistake to sweeten all foods. 
Even pepper and salt are at times a welcome change from sugar. 

Food for sick persons should be served in small quantity, and its 
appearance should be as appetizing as it can be made. It should be 
served when cooked, and should never be allowed to stand, or it is sure 
to lose its freshness and fail to tempt the appetite. The serving should 
never be left to an inexperienced or careless person. As a general rule, 
the same dish should not be served upon two consecutive days. 

Vegetables should never be given to any sick person without the phy- 
sician's consent. Twice-cooked beef, lamb or mutton is objectionable. 
Oysters are more digestible raw than cooked. Cheese and all fried 



728 The American Journal of Nursing 

foods are undesirable for the sick, or even the convalescent. Fruit must 
be sound and ripe, of course, but even if it is to be cooked, it must not 
be in the least over-ripe. All food, even bread, should be covered while 
being conveyed from the kitchen to the patient's room. The patient 
should not be consulted as to what food he desires, and each tray is then 
somewhat of a surprise when brought to him (or her), which somewhat 
breaks the monotony of invalid or convalescent existence. 

All foods and drinks should be hot or cold, the chaudfroid condition 
being unsuitable for dishes that can be given to sick persons. 

Everything suggestive of medicine should be banished at meal times, 
or when food is placed before a patient. 

To Prepare Chicken for Convalescents. — There are many people who 
are willing to give every delicacy to their convalescents, but who cannot 
afford a freshly-cooked chicken every day in the week, although they are 
under the necessity of having the services of a trained nurse. Further, 
convalescents quickly tire of roast or boiled chicken if offered to them 
very often in the ordinary style of cooking. Let us assume that it is 
either necessary or desirable to keep a chicken for the entire use of an in- 
valid, and that we have a roast chicken. This can be used whole the 
first day, and a portion cut from it which looks small and tempting, but 
which is ample for an invalid. This should be cut from the breast, unless 
the patient has a fancy for some special part. On the following day 
some specially delicate and nitrogenous vegetable, such as green peas, 
with suitable sauce, should be a prominent feature of the dinner, and 
the small quantity of chicken served will then be looked upon as an 
accompaniment. A portion, such as a leg, might be skinned, scored 
deeply with a knife, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and carefully 
broiled; or part of the bird may be freed from skin, minced and mois- 
tened with cream or white sauce, and delicately flavored with lemon- 
rind or ham, with a suspicion of powdered mace, then warmed. Two 
very small rashers of bacon as garnishing will add to the appearance and 
taste of this dish. The bacon should be chiefly fat, otherwise the patient 
may get too much protein. 

Every bone of the chicken should be saved and added to the soup 
obtained by boiling the neck, gizzard and feet on the day on which the 
bird was first cooked. These bones should be broken quite small, and 
carefully stewed for several hours in the broth, and flavored with a 
scrap of lemon-peel and a little bunch of herbs and whole pepper, the 
vegetables and spices being tied in a muslin bag. When strained and 
cold, the result of this process in the form of jelly will be found very 
nice as savory jelly; or, if reheated, as a cup of soup, it will generally 



Food for Invalids — Irwell 729 

find ready acceptance. It may be enriched by the addition of the beaten 
yolk of an egg and a little cream or milk. When carefully warmed 
without boiling, this will make delicious soup, the flavor of which may 
be varied by throwing in some parsley chopped almost to a powder 
just before serving. 

The best plan is to cook only part of a chicken. Instead of cooking a 
whole chicken and rewarming it in different ways, it is generally a better 
plan to cook only a part. The wish-bone and the breast can be rolled in 
buttered paper and roasted. A leg can be wrapped in buttered paper 
and boiled till tender in water flavored with carrot, whole pepper and 
a minute quantity of mace. When cooked, this should be well drained 
and served with boiled celery. 

In cooking a chicken in several portions attention must be paid to 
trussing these portions so that they will look neat when cooked, and 
they should be trimmed with a sharp knife before being sent to the 
invalid. 

Chicken Panada. — It is not always necessary, by any means, to keep 
a chicken for the entire use of an invalid, and there is a charming dish 
called chicken panada which is easily digested. To make it is quite 
simple. The meat must be taken from the breast of a freshly-roasted 
or boiled chicken and reduced to pulp by chopping and pounding it in 
a mortar till quite smooth. This is then mixed with breadcrumbs. A 
little chicken broth, cream or water is added, and the whole is then 
placed in a stewpan, flavored to taste, and stirred over the fire for ten 
minutes. 

Chicken Broth. — In making chicken broth for invalids a little of the 
fleshy part of the knuckle of veal will be found an improvement, and 
the chicken bones should be well crushed that their value may be ex- 
tracted. The broth should be varied in appearance and flavored by 
using vermicelli, rice or cornflour as alternate thickenings with hot milk, 
cream, or beaten yolks of eggs. In making chicken broth to be served 
brown, a crust of bread boiled with the bones, a sprig of parsley, whole 
pepper, and a minute quantity of mace will be found pleasant flavoring. 
When oysters are in season, if the chicken broth is strained through a 
fine sieve and some small oysters are slightly warmed in it, a very nour- 
ishing soup will be created, which will not tax a convalescent patient's 
weak digestion.